21/10/2020 - Permalink

Show Racism the Red Card helps mark Black History Month in Shropshire

Related topics: Community / Coronavirus / Leisure, culture and heritage / Partner organisations

As part of national Black History Month, Shropshire Council marked Wear Red Day on Friday 16 October 2020 to show racism the red card in Shropshire. Directors donned red for the day, and members of staff working from home across the county showed their support with red props, ranging from a model of a red K6 telephone kiosk to red flowers, toys, and red backgrounds. Photos were then sent in to form a visual gallery of support on staff computer screens, with a special design for the day on the screen.

Shropshire Council directors wear red for Show Racism the Red Card

Shropshire Council directors wear red for Show Racism the Red Card

The council worked with the national charity Show Racism the Red Card to make this year’s event the key initiative in local activity with partners. An online resources pack about Black History Month has been produced with support from Shropshire Archives, available on the council website at www.shropshire.gov.uk.

If you have any stories you would like to share with Shropshire Archives, to add to our local knowledge about contributions made by, or on behalf of, people of colour to the wider community in Shropshire, please email archives@shropshire.gov.uk or telephone 0345 678 9096.

Gwilym Butler, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for communities, place planning and regulatory services, said:-

“I am delighted that Shropshire Council is stepping up to show our visible support, wherever we live across our large and rural county, towards tackling racism in the here and now.

“I very much hope that these Show Racism the Red Card efforts will be a platform for positivity in everything that we do to foster and promote good relations between people.

“There are many positive and courageous actions that people have also made in the past in Shropshire, in standing up against inequalities in society, including towards people of colour. For example, Shropshire Archives has shared that the slavery abolition movement found support here at the end of the 18th century, with local boroughs, in particular Bridgnorth and Much Wenlock, regularly petitioning Parliament for the abolition of slavery.

“National Black History Month gives us a very timely opportunity to find out more about our local history. In so doing, we can reach a fuller collective understanding of the contributions that people of colour have made to life in Shropshire, as well as moving forward together to help Shropshire to be a welcoming county, to and for everyone.“

Extract from the diary of Katherine Plymley, 19 May 1793 - 17 Aug 1793

Extract from the diary of Katherine Plymley, 19 May 1793 – 17 Aug 1793

Lezley Picton, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for culture, leisure, waste and communications, said:-

“I really welcome the focus that we are giving to the achievements and contributions of the black community in the UK going back over many generations, as well as recognising the actions we need to take to tackle racism in the present day.

“We know there must be many untold stories from local people in Shropshire, whose ancestors have either stood up against or witnessed racism, or who have contributed to the rich history of Shropshire. If you would like to share your knowledge and perspectives about your families, or open up the archives to find out more, Shropshire Archives would be delighted to hear from you, and I will look forward to reading your stories.”

Further information 

Black History Month was originally founded around 30 years ago to recognise the contributions that people of African and Caribbean backgrounds have made to the UK over many generations. Now, Black History Month has expanded to include the history of not just African and Caribbean people but all black people. 

It is held to highlight and celebrate the achievements and contributions of the black community in the UK. Throughout history, black people have made huge contributions to society in the fields of art, music, science, literature and many more areas.

The online resources page on the council website highlights a range of national materials around Black History Month, as well as highlighting local material available through Shropshire Archives.

Shropshire Archives operates across Shropshire and Telford & Wrekin. It aims to collect material which relates to the whole community of Shropshire, past and present. We are aware that the collections don’t always reflect this fully, and the service is grateful for any help which enables us to build a more complete picture of life in Shropshire.

Black History Month activity has a clear tie in to our agreed corporate equality objective, approved by Cabinet in July 2020, of working jointly to promote national initiatives such as this campaign. It builds upon Peter Nutting, Leader of the Council’s statement made to Cabinet on 6 July 2020, in which he said:- 

“We recognise that we all have a role to play to bring about positive change by promoting equality here in Shropshire. We will therefore lead by example, and not tolerate discrimination, harassment and victimisation of any kind.”

This strand of equality activity also links with the emerging feedback from a staff survey carried out for Blackout Day in July 2020, where the responses showed a groundswell of staff support for to do more as an organisation to visibly tackle racism.

With the majority of the council’s 3,500 staff working from home due to the pandemic, this presented an opportunity for truly countywide coverage. Staff were encouraged to wear an item of red clothing or display a red prop in the background of their screen, and to send these in to form a visual gallery of support. The gallery was added to during the day as the photos arrived. Staff also had opportunity to view further material and watch a short video from the charity.

There were also displays at the face to face customer outlets in Ludlow, Oswestry and Shrewsbury.

The Wear Red Day charity makes reference in its literature and films to the importance of remembering the Holocaust and other genocides, as we already do through Holocaust Memorial Day activity with school and interfaith forums. We are growing a cherry tree orchard of remembrance across Shropshire through planting a tree with a different primary school every year.